Court upholds Rajaona hanging; jailer defies order

Court upholds Rajaona hanging; jailer defies order

Court upholds Rajaona hanging; jailer defies order

A Chandigarh court on Tuesday ordered that Balwant Singh Rajoana, the death row convict in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, be hanged as scheduled on March 31.

The Punjab government has decided to challenge the verdict. As the ruling Akali leadership pushed for clemency for the Babbar Khalsa militant, Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini Singh Nagpal rejected the petition of the Superintendent of Patiala Central Jail, L R Jakhar, seeking deferment of Rajoana’s hanging.

“The execution order is returned for compliance,” the judge said in a brief order pronounced in the open court.

Jakhar refused to accept Rajoana’s death warrant, pleading that he was “unable and disabled in law.”  Jakhar told the court that he was approaching the next higher court for appropriate step.

He brought to the notice of Court that there were legal infirmities in the procedure. Jakhar had contended that the execution could not be carried out since the matter of other convicts in the Beant Singh assassination case, Lakhwinder Singh and Jagtar Singh Hawara, were still pending before the Supreme Court.

He said as per the SC guidelines, prior to actual execution of death sentence, the jail superintendent should ascertain personally whether the death sentence imposed upon any of the co-accused of the prisoner, who is due to be hanged, has been commuted.

If it has been commuted, the Superintendent should apprise the superior authorities of the matter.